International students celebrated at UK House of Commons

The event was put on by the APPG for International Students, which seeks to recognise the internationalisation and global prominence of UK education. 

“Your presence studying in the UK sends a really powerful message about how the world can work better together”

More than 40 international students studying at UK colleges and universities attended, each selected for their contributions to their local institution or community. 

Co-chair of the APPG for International Students, Paul Blomfield MP spoke at the event, saying he was “delighted” to be joined by the students.  

“We [the APPG] came together to celebrate the contribution that international students make to the life of the UK,” he told attendees. 

“You are a very select bunch of people because you are representing something like half a million international students across every part of the UK.

“Your presence studying in the UK sends a really powerful message about how the world can work better together- the way in which we can learn from each other and how much we have to gain by studying common problems alongside each other,” he added.

It was the fourth time that the APPG for International Students had put such an event for students since it was founded in 2016. This year, Kaplan International Pathways sponsored the event. 

“International students bring so much to this country, socially, in terms of soft power and the economy,” Sue Edwards, director of compliance and accreditation UK and Ireland at Kaplan, told The PIE. 

“We have come such a long way, but there is such a long journey to go. I think we can see today the way these students are sharing experiences with each other… we have to make sure that we have the same visa system to get more international students here. 

“So today is a reminder, I think, of all the work that has gone on, but it is also a celebration to show the achievement of these students,” Edwards added.

Krum Tashev, an international student from the EU, spoke about the difficulties faced by some international students in the UK. 

“On days like today, at events like this, we need to shout out to the great contributions and successes of international students. But we also need to discuss the challenges that we are facing right now,” he said.

“For me, having to go back to Bulgaria because of Brexit, it wasn’t easy. Seeing students racially abused and harassed simply because they are wearing face masks on a daily basis, it wasn’t easy.”

The fact that international students still face barriers in the UK was echoed by Dominik Frej, president of federation of Polish student societies at Queen Mary University of London. 

“I hope that my friends from Poland, my friends from the EU and finally my friends from outside of Europe, will get the chance to study in the UK, without any financial burden and financial problems. This is the goal,” he said. 

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